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Escape from the Haven of Umbar: Cirion’s Musings – Part 2

Escape from the Haven of Umbar is the second instalment in the series of short campaigns Unfinished Tales of Middle-earth. Here the events are retold from the point of view of Cirion, Son of Caragorn, former sergeant and quartermaster in the army of Gondor.

Continued from Part 1 and retells some events from The Tale of Years – Part 5.

The old soldier looks out over the coast of Kas Shafra, the town they just left behind in a hurry. Out here in the rocky outcrops of the mountains, it is quiet, the warm night smothering all sounds and sense of worry. A daring action it was, getting into that abandoned warehouse and basement, losing the town guards in the maze of alleyways, only to be spotted again as they broke into the warehouse. A practised shot from Cirion’s greatbow had stolen the air from the lonely guard’s lungs, but the bastard still managed to blow his whistle. They had found the spy A’mal in the basement alright, and fought a bloody hand-to-hand in the oppressive darkness of the cellar against the searching town guard. Grunts of effort and pain were all that escaped the cellar.

The captain turned out to be bought and paid for by the Free Traders – stroke of luck that. With his help, and the clever disguises Kolbeinn thought of they had made it out of the town, and with the evidence A’mal had secured.

It seems as if the Captains of Umbar were preparing for a raid on Gondor, using stolen ships and under the cover of false flags and uniforms. Cowardly, it would be, but Cirion had lived the soldier’s life long enough to know that cowards tend to live longer than the brave…

It could work; Umbarian raiders could breach Gondorian defenses. For all the effort he put into maintaining a brave face, he knew this information had to reach Gondor before it was too late. But here they were, seeking shelter outside Kas Shafra, gathering what respite and strength they could, before braving the mountains once more, and trying to reach the Free Traders in their desert hideout. Whether any of them would survive the journey… Cirion didn’t dare to guess. But they would have to do so regardless. No matter the risk; no matter the cost…

The old soldier takes another sip from the wine bottle he liberated from the cellar. A spirit as old almost as he himself was. Isn’t that a sign. But all stories have to come to an end eventually. And the last customer pays the bill…

Cover art by Alex van der Linde

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